While the benefits of high-fibre fruits have been known for years, new research from the University of Massachusetts has found that strawberries can help improve the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
This is especially the case with people whose conditions have been worsened by unhealthy lifestyles and diets. IBD is particularly common in people with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
"The sedentary lifestyle and dietary habits of many people – high-sugar, high-animal-fat, but low-fibre diets – may promote colonic inflammation and increase the risk of IBD," says Professor Hang Xiao from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Typically, medication or strict diets are used to treat long-term conditions that cause gut inflammation. However, new evidence suggests that strawberries could be used to improve and manage gut health.
New findings showed that the solution could be in a shopping aisle near you: just 250g of strawberries a day could be enough to limit weight loss or diarrhoea in patients with IBD.
Strawberries can also reduce inflammation in tissue in the colon, another harmful side effect of IBD.
The team of authors emphasised the importance of eating the whole strawberry rather just focusing on extracts.
"When you only test the purified compounds and extracts, you miss out on a lot of other important components in the berries, such as dietary fibre, as well as phenolic compounds bound to the fibres, that can't be extracted by solvents," adds Yanhui Han, a PhD student working on the study.
For their investigation, scientists recruited four groups of mice.
The first group, healthy, consumed a regular diet. Meanwhile, the remaining three groups all suffered from IBD. They were put on three separate diets - a regular diet, a diet with 2.5 per cent whole strawberry powder and a diet with 5 per cent whole strawberry powder.
Interestingly, mice suffering from IBD saw their symptoms improve when they consumed the equivalent of around 250 of strawberries.
Let's face it, strawberries are pretty damn delicious. As if you need another reason to dig in? Plus, growing research suggests you can get jacked from eating fruit.